“But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”
So, a couple of months ago before starting my “Finding Your Voice” series, I took the 16personalities test. The head of my department asked the team to do this exercise and share the results. Why you ask? Well to see what each of our personalities was and understand how best to work better as a team. It was interesting!
When I took the test, I got the ESFJ (Consul) personality type.
I’m not too sure what the letters or names really mean to be honest with you. But apparently there’s someone out there whose job it is to decipher these personality types in more detail. I’m not one of them so here is my understanding of what a ESFL personality type is. Don’t quote me on this!
ESFJ’s are altruists who take their responsibility to help others and do the right thing seriously. A people pleaser if you will. Though ESFJ have very well-formed ideas on how things should be, and are not shy about expressing it, we try to do it in a way that avoids offending or hurting other people’s feelings. Aren’t we lovely? However, our fixation on what other people think can sometimes affect our decision making and open-mindedness. I won’t lie, my vocabulary grew a little after reading the analysis on these personality types. Altruists?
Anywho, as an ESFJ I love me some people. Actually, all people by the sounds of things. I enjoy serving others and my ability to easily read other people often causes me to change my own manner to please the needs of the other person. I’m like a chameleon you see. I can walk into a room, assess the situation and taken on a persona that I feel people need. Do you need me to be the joker? How about the ditsy one? Do you need me to lead or follow? Do you need me to laugh at your jokes, say something clever or just listen? You name it, I can be it. Or at leasttry to be.
ESFJ’S would make great spy’s, don’t you think?
I used to think my chameleon like tendencies was because I have different groups of people in my life. That may be true however as I’ve become more aware of myself, I’ve noticed just how often I change my personality depending on individual people. A little too much if I do say so myself. I wonder, if all the people I know were brought into one room, would they all have one version of Lydia or several?
It’s not a bad thing to have different personas depending on who you’re with. I mean, it’s normal, right? But what are your reasons? For me, my ability to read the situation and take on a persona comes from a place of wanting to be liked by others and making people feel good about themselves. Sounds nice but by focusing on other people I often neglect my own needs in the process. In my attempt to fit in I become very cautious and critical of myself and base my actions on what I think other people want. As a result, my creativity and open-mindedness when it comes to myself and the things I can do is often limited because I’m seeking other people’s approval first. To make things worse, if an idea is rejected or people aren’t interested, my feelings get easily hurt because I see it as a personal attack rather than just an opposing opinion.
Damn the truth hurts!
The strengths and weakness of an ESFJ go on and on but I was amazed at what I uncovered about myself whilst researching this. Since starting my “Finding Your Voice” series I’ve taken my head out of the sand and faced up to myself. Every corner and every crack and you know what I found out? I’m not that great! I’m OK but not great. Not yet anyway.
My chameleon predisposition is probably the thing I like least about myself. I believe it to be the main thing I need to change if I want to step into my greatness…whatever that is.
But how does one do that? How do people remain themselves 24/7 regardless of the environment they are in?
By owning their sh*t, that’s how sweetie! All of it. The good, the bad and the awkward.
Owning yourself whole heartedly is such an underrated gift. Being totally and completely at peace with who you are in every moment, interaction and experience. You make no apologies for being soft spoken, ditsy, awkward, nervous, excited, confused, pimple-faced, no eyebrow having, loud laughing, tall, short, fat, skinny, muscular, bad at sports, nerdy etc. You are just you, unapologetically!
I’m not sure I’ve ever been that way. Most of the time I’m too busy focusing on what other people think of me to truly be what I think of myself. Will they like me or think I’m ugly? Will they think I’m funny, or dumb or slow or not funny enough? With all these thoughts running through my head, I find myself bending to what I think people want from me and sacrifice my true self. An automatic reaction when I’m feeling insecure or unsure.
Insecure and unsure about what though?
About who I am. There are so many things I want to change about myself without having even given myself the chance to get to know them first. Do I have a problem with it or do I think the rest of the world has a problem with it. I guess the negative opinions of people from my past have somehow embedded themselves in my mind so much they’ve turned into my own thoughts about myself. Now I focus more on what other people think of me rather than what I think of me.
That ends now.
Why am I sharing this?
For a long time, I’ve struggled to truly own my personality, my way of thinking and my feelings. Not only do I lack confidence, I feel uncomfortable being myself around other people and usually end up feeling miserable trying to “fit in” with the rest of the world. I hid it well and even convince myself it’s all normal. But that’s no way to live, not for me it isn’t. And hopefully not for you.
Owning who you are makes all the difference in the world in my opinion. It changes how people perceive you and how you interact with others. Owning yourself means doing things on your terms with no apology. Owning yourself means allowing other people to see who you are 24/7. Owning it means letting go of anything that isn’t really you. Owning it means not giving a f**k who likes it or not.
I may not listen to Lady Gaga’s music but her uplifting message about people not being afraid to own who they are regardless of how odd or different they may have been treated in the past is one I resonate with.
Don’t get me wrong, some flaws can and should be changed. However, accepting your flaws and owning the ones that make you who you are is fundamental to fixing the ones that are holding you back.
This “Finding Your Voice” process has helped me peel away the layers of conditioning that have formed over the years for me to get to know who I am. Wait…I sound like an onion but you get the idea. I’ve reserved so much of myself I’m ready for it to all come out.
I pray that this new-found freedom continues online and offline. Now I think it’s time for a little Diana Ross, don’t you?
I’m coming out! I want the world to know, I got to let it show!
Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Stay tuned for the next one!